Playing solid defense has seemingly been a voluntary option for the Houston Rockets in their current four-game losing streak.
At the end of February, it seemed like the Houston Rockets had finally found their groove while also finally establishing their identity. They just finished defeating the Boston Celtics for the second time in 18 days, which capped off a six-game winning streak.
During that stretch, Houston gave up just 109 points per game, which is over five points per game less than they’re giving up on the season (114.4). On offense, the Rockets averaged 124.2 points per game in those six games, up 6.1 points per game from their season average.
During their losing streak, H-Town has looked significantly worse on both ends of the floor. Their scoring average has plummeted to 108.3, which included a 99-point effort against the Charlotte Hornets, while they’re giving up 119.8 points per game.
Opponents are scoring too many easy buckets in general, as the Rockets are now in the bottom six in the league in both opponents’ points in the paint per game and opponents’ fast break points per game.
More disheartening for Houston is the fact that it’s not as if these bad losses are all coming against elite teams. The New York Knicks and Charlotte Hornets are far from even being contenders to make the playoffs while the Orlando Magic are the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference.
We’ve recently addressed some overall concerns about what could be causing the Rockets to spiral down the standings, but here I’ll be taking a look at three specific ways Mike D’Antoni‘s squad is failing to live up to their potential on defense.